Consideration was given for the editing and publication of this post.
The thought of writing a will might scare you, but there are tonnes of templates for DIY wills online which are easy to find and won’t cost you a lot. However, it’s not always a fantastic idea to go DIY when it comes to writing your will.
In theory, you could scribble your will down on a piece of scrap paper as long as two adult independent witnesses correctly signed it. But this doesn’t mean it’s a good idea as most wills follow the rules for what you say and how you say it.
Using the wrong wording in your will could mean that your wishes aren’t met, or even worse that your will isn’t valid. This is why we’d recommend using a template that has the sections and legal terms already included. There are plenty of stationery shops, or online services that sell a will pack costing anywhere from £10 to £30.
If your wishes are simple, for example, you want to leave everything to your significant other or children, then writing your own will should be simple. However, if there’s anything more complicated like you’re not married to your partner, then you should probably seek the help of a solicitor.
When sitting down to write your will, there are a few things you should bear in mind, including your spelling! Your grammar may seem like such an obvious thing, however taking extra care with the spelling of people’s names could mean the difference between your property going to the right person or not.
If you’re already in possession of a will, make sure to state in your new one that it revokes the old will. As well as stating the old will is outdated, you should also destroy the old one. The template you use should give instructions on how to do this properly.
Once you’ve drafted your will up, you need to ensure its signed, dated and witnessed correctly. Again, the template should tell you how to do this properly. You’ll also need to let your executor know where the will is kept, as it’s valuable information for when you do pass!
As with any form of DIY, there are a few risks involved with creating your own will. Although you may save a few pennies up front compared to using a professional service, you could risk causing disputes over your will in your family when it comes to sorting your finances once you’ve passed.
Mistakes are easy to make and unfortunately with a DIY will, if you make one there won’t be any legal comeback at all. If there are a lot of mistakes, the law may decide your will is invalid and it would be up to them who your money and property go to.
There are some things you should consider before proceeding to write your own will, including if you have property abroad or have foreign investments or bank accounts. You should also hire a solicitor if you’re leaving a business to someone, or will include wishes that may be misunderstood.